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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 19.djvu/635

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617
ANCIENT COPPER-MINES OF ISLE ROYALE.

of the dead, and interring them in a common repository. A mound of the latter description was formerly situated on the low grounds of the Rivanna River, in Virginia, opposite the site of an old Indian village (Jefferson's "Notes on Virginia," pp. 100, 103). It was forty feet in diameter and twelve feet in height, of a spheroidal form, and surrounded by a trench, whence the earth employed in its erection had been excavated. The circumstances attending the custom alluded to were, the great number of skeletons, their confused position, their situation in distinct strata, exhibiting different stages of decomposition, and the appearance of bones of infants. A mound of similar character, and constructed in layers or strata at successive periods, existed near the south branch of the Shenandoah, in the same State. A tumulus of stones, in New York State, is said to have marked the grave of a distinguished warrior (McCauley's "History of New York," vol. ii, p. 239). "Beck's Gazetteer" (p. 308) states that "a mound of the largest dimensions has been thrown up, within a few years, in Illinois, over the remains of an eminent chief." The Natchez Indians, when expelled from Louisiana in 1728, erected a mound "of considerable size" near Natchitoches, as stated in the documents accompanying the President's message for 1806. C. C. Jones, referring[1] to plate xl of the "Brevis Narratio," says that "here we have a spirited representation of the ceremonies observed by the Florida Indians upon the occasion of the sepulture of their kings and priests. Located in the vicinity of the village appears a small conical mound, surmounted by the shell drinking-cup of the deceased, and surrounded by a row of arrows stuck in the ground. Gathered in a circle about this sepulchral tumulus, the bereaved members of the tribe, upon bended knees, are bewailing the death of him in whose honor this grave-mound had been heaped up." Jones also mentions an instance of a primary burial under a mound erected in honor of the dead, on the coast a few miles below Savannah, in which, along with an earthen pot, several arrow-heads, a stone celt, and bones of a human skeleton, was found in immediate association a portion of an old-fashioned sword. This tumulus, thus proved to have been erected since the advent of the Europeans, was seven feet high and about twenty feet in diameter at the base. Of the sword, the parts preserved were the oak handle, most of the guard, and about seven inches of the blade. The rest had perished from rust. The Mandans, according to Catlin ("North American Indians," vol. i, p. 90), constructed mounds in commemoration of their dead, and the same is said of the Arickarees by Professor Lewis H. Morgan (twenty-first report of the New York State Cabinet). The mounds at Lanesboro, in the State of Minnesota, are said by the old Winnebago chief Winneshiek[2] to have been erected by the Sioux, in commemoration

  1. "Antiquities of the Southern Indians."
  2. This old chief is still living, near Trempeleau, Wisconsin, and is said to be about one hundred years old.